Getting a baby to sleep under the best of circumstances can be tricky, but when your little one is overtired, it can be even more difficult. That’s because overtired babies have a harder time settling down for sleep, sleep only intermittently and wake up more often throughout the night.
The result? Overtired babies tend to sleep less and sleep less well, making them more tired, which continues the tired-overtired cycle. And it can be especially difficult to sleep train an overtired baby.
How can you tell if your baby is overtired? Here are the signs, plus tips on how to steer your baby toward better sleep habits.
Signs of an overtired baby
Babies who don’t sleep enough and who stay awake for longer than they can handle end up having a stress response — an increase in adrenaline and cortisol — making it trickier for them to wind down for bed.
Sometimes it’s obvious your baby is overtired … and other times the signs are subtle. Here’s what to look for in your little one:
What can I do to avoid them getting overtired:
Contributed by Pam Jones, RN
Do you have more questions? Contact Nurse Pam!
Newborns need to eat often. In the first few weeks of baby's life, breastfeeding will probably happen 8-12 times every 24 hours. Sometimes, baby will want to nurse even more often. When feedings are bunched together, especially in the evening, this is called cluster feeding.
It may seem like a lot of nursing but it's completely normal!
Don't forget that in addition to helping baby get nice and full in the nighttime hours, cluster feeding also helps increase milk supply, helping to get nursing off to a good start and keeping up milk production. The baby to breast relationship truly is symbiotic! Cluster feeding typically ends for baby between 3 and 4 months old but there are times when it may resurface such as during a growth spurt. Again completely normal!
Sleep deprivation and stress can wreak havoc on new parents’ immune systems, so who better to ask for wellness tips than the nurses and night nannies who work in close contact with newborns?
Real life Night Nannies and Newborn Care Nurses share their best tips here:
Stay Hydrated: Water, water, water! says BJ Edmunds, a newborn care provider for over 5 years. Keeping properly hydrated allows the body to fight infection, maintain proper digestion and remove unhealthy toxins efficiently. It's unfair but the coffee and sugary drinks we use to keep energy up actually dehydrate the body, so if you enjoy these drinks, be sure to counter the dehydrating effects with –you guessed it- more water.
Saline and Vaseline: Saline solution, which is simply warm water with salt dissolved in it, can be used to flush out nasal passages and fight off colds and flu. There’s a second step though that can be even more effective. Joy Becker, LPN, and infant caregiver for over 15 years says: Use Saline in nose daily, but then apply petroleum jelly at the opening of your nostril. The saline flushes out germs and then the petroleum jelly makes a protective barrier to keep bacteria from going into your nasal passages, which can then help prevent colds or sinus infections.
Sauna: If social distancing allows, going into a sauna for 15 minutes can help ward off sickness. Recent studies show that sauna use does help keep us healthy and as the Mayo Clinic says, is "linked to an array of health benefits". You can actually buy your own sauna on Amazon and install it yourself if you really want to get into it!
Sleep – Sleep when the baby sleeps sounds good in theory but often doesn’t work in practice. Compounding the lack of opportunities for sleep, our constant “alert state” caring for baby can make it very difficult to wind-down and sleep when the opportunity actually does present itself.
Meditation can help cross this bridge from awake to sleepy. One easy method is the “4-7-8” breathing technique popularized by Dr. Andrew Weil. The basics of this technique are below, but we highly encourage watching this video demonstration:
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
- Hold your breath for a count of seven.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
Vitamin D and Vitamin C- In looking at over 82 studies, Vitamin D is the one supplement shown to protect against the common cold in all age groups. You can find vitamin d in dairy and cereals but a free way to get Vitamin D is to go out in the sun for 10-30 minutes a day. The trick is to take Vitamins C and D consistently for 3-4 months to make a difference in the severity and length of a cold.
Get Your Flu Shot and COVID vaccine - Receiving the flu vaccine before flu season is a pre-emptive strike against the flu. An added benefit is the protection the flu vaccine gives your infant. According to the CDC, one study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.
COVID vaccines are all our best prevention against coronavirus for adults and therefore offer protection to our babies. There is also no evidence that the vaccine is harmful to pregnant or nursing moms.
As always, continue to hand wash and keep socially distant to keep germs away too!
Reflux is a backward flow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus that causes heartburn. It's one of the most common conditions newborns face and is often caused by the esophageal sphincter valve not being fully developed. This causes milk to come back up the esophagus through the throat and causes baby to spit up and vomit. When the contents of the stomach come back up, it is usually mixed with some stomach acid, which creates a burning sensation.
Over the counter medicines may be prescribed by baby's pediatrician but it's important to remember that while they may help soothe the burning sensation, they do not "cure" reflux and are not always recommended for babies under 1 year of age.
Here are 5 Tips to Help Your Reflux Baby:
1. Keep baby elevated while feeding. Gravity helps hold contents in the belly, and reduces the amount of spit up. Do not place baby where he/she can easily slide down or be in a "scrunched up" position.. This puts pressure on the belly and force contents up.
2. Burp frequently during feeding. This helps keep air out of the belly. Air bubbles can force milk back up the esophagus, causing pain and discomfort. After each ounce of feeding or even more often can be considered frequent.
3. Have smaller and more frequent feedings. When baby is too full, it can put pressure on the sphincter valve forcing the baby to spit up. This can cause pain and also lead to choking.
4. Fill the bottle nipple with fluid. If baby is bottle-fed, make sure the entire nipple on the bottle is filled with fluid to avoid swallowing excess air.
5. Try Coleif drops. Some babies have reflux not only due to immature sphincter valves, but because they have trouble digesting lactose in milk. This can lead to bloating, gas, discomfort, and a lot of crying. Coleif is a natural lactase enzyme that helps to break down lactose in an infant’s breast milk or milk-based formula . (This isn't sponsored, we've just seen it work!)
If baby is still fussy, view this comprehensive article about why baby may be crying after feeding, and for more tips on soothing baby please visit Top 10 Ways to Calm Your Baby.
Sleep training is a very personal decision and one that should be made with your pediatrician's advice as well as your own gut feeling. For families who would like concrete advice on how to help a baby who's old enough sleep long stretches, here are 3 techniques that will help:
1. Encourage feeding between 6am and 6pm:
Scheduled feeding is not recommended in the early weeks as baby's stomach is tiny and s/he's used to that "on-demand" life inside the womb. Once baby is about 12 weeks old though, and we have the pediatrician's blessing, parents can slowly increase time spent at the breast for another minute or 2 as well as the amount of fluid in the bottle by a 1/4 ounce or so.
2. Do a Dreamfeed:
A dreamfeed is usually given around 10pm to sustain baby during the time parents are asleep. In other words, rather than feeding baby at 1am or 2am when s/he naturally wakes from hunger, we're heading off this hunger by feeding earlier in the night. Don't wake babies to dreamfeed, they'll instinctually take what is needed when milk or formula is held to their lips. A quick diaper change can be done at this time as well.
*Breastfeeding moms may want to pump and have their partner do the dreamfeed, so baby doesn't become extra wakeful from the scent of mom.
2. Gradually decrease overnight feeding: When baby wakes in the overnight hours, decrease the amount of milk or formula normally given. Breastfeeding moms can try to take baby off the breast 1 minute or 2 sooner than usual. Bottle feeding parents can give baby 1/4 of an ounce less than usual.
You can try to give baby a pacifier at the end of the feeding session if baby still needs to suck to be soothed.
We're not removing overnight calories when we encourage daytime feeds and discourage overnight feedings; we are just gradually repositioning when baby takes the feed. This process can take 2-3 weeks of gradual change.
Every baby is different of course and there are many ways to help baby sleep through the night if that's what parents choose to do. What are your tips and tricks? Let us know!
Choking is a common cause of injury and death in children, but it doesn't have to be. Parents and caregivers can prevent situations that may cause choking in infants by ensuring that:
1. bottle fed babies are monitored and using proper flow on the nipple
2. only developmentally appropriate foods are offered
3. small items that can fit in the mouth are never in baby's reach
Whether from the breast or bottle, it's important to continually keep an eye on baby to be sure s/he's feeding well and comfortably. When baby is bottle feeding however, we need to be sure the correct size nipple is being used. There are many brands of bottles but the nipples on each bottle are typically standard with a flow rate of 1, 2, 3 or 4.
Level 1 indicates the smallest hole in the nipple, making it the slowest and most appropriate for newborns and very young babies. Level's 2, 3 and 4 are used as baby gets older. There is no specific date when bottle levels should be increased; this is one of those things baby will show you as they become more efficient at each level.
The other crucial thing to remember when bottle feeding is not to prop the bottle up to feed baby; don't use a rolled up towel or other device to feed baby. When a bottle is propped it can slip, or continue to drip or pour fluid into baby's mouth causing fluid to pool in the back of he mouth and throat. Not only can this quickly lead to choking but it can also lead to tooth decay, ear infections and decreased bonding.
When baby begins eating solid foods, purees and smooth foods should be the only things offered. As more foods and textures are introduced, it's important not to offer foods considered high risk. Even when solid-food feeding is established, babies' airways may become constricted when they take in foods that are too big, not easy to chew or easily swallowed.
The following foods are not recommended for children age 4 and under (AAP):
No matter your baby's age, these items should always be kept out of baby's reach (from the AAP). It can be challenging especially when there are toddlers and older children around but these are all choking hazards:
Like most things in newborn and infant care, prevention and knowledge are the key to health and safety. To learn what to do if baby is actually choking, visit and print this .pdf.
Dad's have a reputation for being pretty fun parents, so we decided to lean-in on that and share our favorite gifts for new dads for the holidays! Of course there are all kinds of parents but we hope you'll find this list helpful for the special new or expecting dad on your list.
The team at Let Mommy Sleep really wants Daddy to sleep too, so the "Let's Play Cars on Dad" shirt is #1 on our holiday list. Kids play while Dad takes a break- genius!- and a little toy car comes free with each purchase.
Shirts are also only $15 and come in a variety of colors.
In keeping with our sleep theme, we recommend investing in a
cozy new robe that will get use for years to come.
Easy to pull on when getting out of bed, large pockets and fleece lining give fathers the important message of "You deserve to relax!" These robes also come in 6 different colors and go from small to 4XL so there's a style for every father.
On a serious note, don't forget that Dad's can also experience postpartum mood disorders and even if they aren't clinically diagnosed, it's vital to remember that a Dad was born at the same time baby was born too. Rest and compassion can help new dads adjust to life with a newborn.
Even when we've done our very best to let dad rest, he still may need a boost of energy but not be able to stop and drink a cup of coffee. That's why we love M.E.G - Military Energy Gum!
M.E.G won the US Army's Greatest Invention of the Year Award for 2005. Originally made for our troops, M.E.G. is now available to the general public. Each piece of gum has 100mg of caffeine, about the same as a small cup of coffee, and the caffeine effect happens within 15 minutes.
This gum should be kept out of the reach of children of course but adults can use it as a quick and low calorie coffee or soda alternative.
The GoPRO HERO4 is billed as the "most advanced GoPRO ever"
with its ultra high-resolution, high frame rate video. This camera is also waterproof, offers a super slow motion option and has a Smart Remote that can be controlled from Dad's phone from up to 600 feet away.
As technologically advanced as this camera is, it's real value comes from remembering what it's really for- capturing memories of family adventures and time together...the true spirit of the holiday season.
You can see our full list of Dad gifts on Amazon! If there's anything you think we should add, let us know on Twitter or Insta!
As an expecting parent or postpartum caregiver, you may have heard the term “lying-in”or “lying in period.” This is the practice of giving mothers time to spend undisturbed with their newborn for anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months. The purpose is to give mother time to heal physically and mentally from childbirth, encourage mother/baby bonding, allow a healthy breastfeeding relationship to develop and promote overall recuperation and postnatal wellness. Benefits to mom and baby are tremendous as Rachel Wolf, RN of Let Mommy Sleep notes: “Lying in means better sleep and higher immune systems for moms, and decreased exposure to germs and illnesses for infants.” Additionally the mental health benefits of allowing mom to recuperate properly have been demonstrated over and over.
If you haven’t heard of lying in, it’s probably because it’s not practiced much here in the US, where undisturbed time is becoming more and more rare. Families tend to be spread out and job and childcare responsibilities of parents, grandparents, neighbors and relatives tend to mean that postpartum moms (or any parent, really!) simply don't have an opportunity to get extended periods of rest. So how can we help mothers, babies and ultimately entire families stay healthy during this vulnerable perinatal time?
In addition to fair maternity leave practices and follow-up visits with the primary care physician, it’s vital that new mothers have a support network. “The most important thing we can do is ensure that every mom has the help and support she needs, should she end up struggling with postpartum depression or baby blues,” Wolf says. If new parents don’t have family support, they’ll need to get a little creative. Moms Clubs, church communities, neighbors and even local Facebook groups can organize meals and blocks of time to help with housework or allow mom to sleep.
Night Nannies or Registered Nurse visits can also be a great resource for new parents, especially during the first week after childbirth. This week is a critical time for assessing mental health of both parents, performing physical assessments of mother and baby and providing evidence-based education in newborn care. Evidence shows the benefits of postpartum visits are numerous and as Wolf notes, “mothers would not be readmitted to the hospital at the numbers they are, if someone was there in the family home early enough to identify those mothers who are either physical or psychological risk for postpartum complications.”
Whatever a new mother's situation, it's important to prepare for life after baby *before* baby arrives. Get those volunteers lined up, join a local support network, organize family members' time off and research professional caregivers just in case they might be needed. While we may not be able to have months of time off, parents can build their support network to maximize lying-in for a healthy mom, baby and family.
A tip-over injury or fatality means that a child has been injured or killed by pulling over dressers, televisions, bookshelves or other furniture. About 70 percent of tip-over fatalities involve children ages 1 1/2 to 3 years old, but these accidents are preventable.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Anchor It! Campaign shows parents and caregivers that anchoring is simple, inexpensive and important.
Here are their tips:
- Anchor all furniture to the wall. These videos show how to properly anchor to drywall and to brick walls.
Refer to the Anchor It poster here for correct installation of anchors, and for more babyproofing info please visit How to Create a Safe Nursery.
Did you know postpartum mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy? Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Anxiety in mothers is finally getting talked about, but postpartum depression in men, called Paternal PostNatal Depression, or PPND, is just as common.
With the arrival of another royal baby, we're taking a break from our usual educational blogs to share our favorite fun, safe and slightly over the top nursery items on Amazon!
Circular Crib - Nothing says Baby Prince or Princess quite like a circular crib or bassinet. Dreamy bedding and draping fabrics make baby's sleep area unique and timeless. Remember not to use the crib bumpers that may come with crib bedding as it is a SIDS risk; opt for a breathable mesh bumper instead.
<---This Macrame and wooden chair and swing
This adorable swing can be mounted indoors or outside and is as sturdy as it is cute. It's recommended for babies age 6 - 30 months and can become a family heirloom, handed down to siblings and cousins for years.
Diaper Pail - in Gold! - If you're going to have a diaper pail in baby's room, why not get the one that has won the most awards and is FANCY?!
A Rocking...Unicorn - Any baby can have a rocking horse for baby's first ride on toy, but a Rocking Unicorn? That's a stand-out gift item! We like this toy because it has plush back support for the littlest riders. It also comes in a variety of colors.
Our full list of unique, safe nursery decor is in our Amazon shopwww.amazon.com/shop/letmommysleep?listId=2LUTHG65XVOAF but we'd love to hear about your favorite baby items below!
Night nurses, doulas and newborn care providers are a little different than daytime nannies since we concentrate on caring for families in the postpartum phase.
Our team made a list of items that you may find helpful to have in your overnight care bag. The full list of recommended items is on Amazon and includes:
To see the full list, please visit our verified shop on Amazon, and if there's anything you would like to see included let us know below!
Adapted guest post by Jeanne Faulkner, Registered Nurse and author of the book "Common Sense Pregnancy"
I just launched my new book, Common Sense Pregnancy (Random House/Ten Speed Press, June 2015) about pregnancy and parenthood. Common Sense Pregnancy is part medical guide (I’m a registered nurse with decades of maternal health experience), part advice column (I write Fit Pregnancy’s Ask The Labor Nurse blog and I’m Senior Writer for EveryMotherCounts.org), and part memoir (I’m the mother of four and lived to write about it).
Most of my book is about pregnancy, prenatal care, labor and birth, but I also discuss sleep deprivation. I write about it in Chapter 15 and I’ll share an excerpt here:
You’re in for a bit of a shock. Babies rule the night. They’re totally clueless about circadian rhythms and not the least bit concerned about waking you up at all hours to make you do things for them. This goes on for months and months – sometimes even years. Everyone will tell you: Sleep when the baby sleeps. That’s excellent advice the first week or so but not so great after that, because few of us have the privilege of putting everything in life on hold while we take a nap.
We each react differently to interrupted and reduced sleep. Some can suck it up and function fairly well: others fall apart completely. They can’t think, can’t deal and can’t function at all. These parents have to create coping strategies to keep from losing their minds.
First, consider this: while it may seem like you’re never getting to sleep, the reality is you’re almost certainly getting some. Even if your baby is an every-two-hour feeder, that gorgeous hour and a half between feedings might drop you into the deepest sleep of your life. The body is amazing in its ability to grab what it needs, and once you get into a nighttime groove, you’ll find the experience of having bizarre wake-sleep cycles less jolting.
If the fatigue is too extreme, then you and your partner need to make some changes – like alternating nights where one of you gets to sleep all night in a room away from the baby while the other handles night duties. If you’re breastfeeding, this could involve your partner giving the baby a bottle of pumped milk or having dad bring baby in for a quick nighttime feeding, then scooping her back up and away while you go back to sleep.
For some women, sleep deprivation leads to serious changes in mental health – aka postpartum depression and even psychosis. This is serious business and must be addressed by professionals – your doctor or midwife plus a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional with experience dealing with postpartum mothers.
Support Resources for New Parents:
Mental Health resources: Postpartum Support International or their primary care physician, New parent groups such
New Parent Support Groups: MomsClub.org, Parents of Multiples
In-Home Postpartum Care: LetMommySleep.com
According to SafeKids.org 3 out of 4 carseats are used incorrectly. Following the manufacturers' specific directions for usage is vital, but understanding correct carseat usage in general can help keep your child safe.
For children age 0-2 years old this means:
Automobile accidents continue to be a danger to all of us but by following the car seat manufacturers' installation directions and by remembering these tips, you can keep baby safe as best you can.
Baby is fed, his diaper is changed, but s/he’s still crying! While it's important to remember that sometimes babies cry because that's what babies do, there are soothing methods we can try.
Here are our Top 10:
1) White noise: Make some noise…white noise that is! The rhythmic monotonous whooshing sound reminds baby of what she heard in the womb- it can lull her into sleep and even help her stay asleep. You don't have to spring for a machine, try a white noise app on your smartphone. Even the sound of a fan or a humidifier will work. Due to recent studies, make sure the noise is not too loud. See this great article in Science News for more information.
2) Exercise ball: Hold baby in either a cradle hold or up on your chest, sit on an exercise ball and gently bounce. Rhythmic motion is soothing to baby.
3) Baby-wearing: Babies, especially newborns love to be held constantly. However, many parents worry that they won’t ever be able to use their hands again! Try a baby carrier or sling- to keep baby close while leaving your hands free. We promise you won't spoil baby - spoiling a baby is impossible, you're just following baby's natural need to be close to another human when you wear baby.
4) Swaddling: Babies like to be tightly swaddled because it reminds them of being snug inside the womb. If you want to learn to swaddle like a pro, watch our step-by-step demonstration YouTube.
5) Skin to skin contact: In the NICU this technique called “Kangaroo care” and is employed not only calm babies, but to help them grow and develop. Get your baby down to her diaper, open your own shirt and snuggle in close and get as much “skin to skin” contact as possible. It calms, reassures, and is great for bonding.
6) Take a bath with baby.Taking a bath with baby can be a relaxing experience for both baby and mom. First, test the temperature of the water to be sure it's not too hot. Then get in the tub and have baby lay chest to chest with you. Gently hold him and relax. This is also a wonderful opportunity for mothers to breastfeed, if baby would like to.
7) Try the “colic hold.” The “colic hold” has been known to soothe many fussy babies. Lay baby face down on your forearm and gently rock him back and forth. Pressure on baby’s tummy is soothing and may help relieve gas.
8) Massage. Massage can be a useful tool in calming your baby. Lay your little one on her back on a changing table or other flat surface. Gently massage the top and sides of her head, the face and jaw muscles, then the arms, tummy and legs.
9) Calm your heart rate. As nerve-wracking as the crying can be, try to take some slow deep breaths with baby up against you. Focus on slowing your heart rate. Often, baby will follow suit.
10) Turn down stimuli. Too much stimuli is frequently stressful for babies. It’s easy for parents to overlook the daily barrage of lights and sounds we’re all accustomed to. Your newborn baby was in darkness for nine months; his nervous system is still immature and all these new stimuli can be overwhelming. Trying turning off the TV and dimming the lights. Sometimes, bringing baby to his dark, quiet nursery will also help him relax.
It's important to remember that sometimes babies just cry. They just do no matter what you try. If baby is not hungry and not injured or in need of medical attention and you feel like you might be reaching a breaking point while baby is crying, it is okay to place baby in a safe place like the crib and walk away for a few minutes. Are there other soothing techniques we missed here? Let us know here!
Many parents report that their baby is gassy or uncomfortable after feeding, or just plain fussy. While this is normal, one of the most common reasons we see babies exhibit fussy behavior is not enough burping happening during feeding.
This video shows several effective burping techniques. View more like this at youtube,com/letmommysleepusa
On WJLA-TV, Registered Nurse Liz Hawkes and mom Julie Stanbridge share how to know the difference between typical hormonal shifts after giving birth called "baby blues" and postpartum depression.
By knowing the signs of PPD in new mothers, partners, friends and caregivers take the first step to help.
Did you know postpartum mental health issues are the most common complication of pregnancy? Postpartum Depression (PPD) and Anxiety in mothers is finally getting talked about, but postpartum depression in men* called Paternal PostNatal Depression, or PPND, is just as common.
What is PPND?
Depression in mothers happens because of the biological and hormonal changes experienced after childbirth. According to studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and National Institute of Health however, depression can affect up to 25% of new fathers -especially if their partner is experiencing depression. The condition is called PPND, or Paternal PostNatal Depression, and with the amount of depression reported in men as a whole typically about 5%, PPND is very real. Hormonal and emotional changes happen in men too.
*We’re using male pronouns here because the study data is for male partners, Awareness of postpartum issues is relevant to female partners as well.
Who is at risk?
PPND can happen to any father but there are also risk factors to know about before baby arrives:
For more information, watch RN Rachel Wolf on CBS South Florida..
Video: How to Swaddle Baby
Let Mommy Sleep Registered Nurses & Newborn Care Experts demonstrate swaddling using common swaddle blankets.
New Directions Counseling Group
150 S Washington St Suite 303 Falls Church, VA 22046
Expectant moms can easily get caught up in the baby buying, the reading, developing the perfect birth plans, and taking hospital classes on the birth process and taking care of baby protocols. Sometimes expecting moms enjoy baby preparations without considering their own psychological health during the prenatal and postpartum period.
"A happy mom, means a happy baby" as they say, and yet, hospitals fail to emphasize the expecting mom in developing a mental health postpartum plan. Christina Schultz, former Postpartum Support Virginia volunteer and current Counselor at New Directions Counseling Group, has developed a seminar to support expectant moms to create a mental health postpartum plan and build resilience.
More info here!
Families with newborns have unique and special needs that no other families have. After researching references and background checks, here are 5 questions you may also want to ask.
1. Do you have your flu shot?
Babies cannot receive a flu shot before 6 months of age so they are especially vulnerable to influenza. Parents should know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls the "mandatory immunization of all health care personnel an 'ethical, just, and necessary' means to improve patient safety.”
2. Are you up to date on all other vaccinations?
Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough) should all be current and documented in your child’s caregiver. According to the Centers for Disease Control, TDaP "is especially important for...anyone having close contact with a baby younger than 12 months...Infants are most at risk for severe, life-threatening complications from pertussis.” Even if an adult has had the TDaP vaccine as a child, whooping cough booster shots are recommended for adults.
3. How will you support my feeding decisions?
While your doula or newborn caregiver may be experienced, you are the parent and decide what's best for your family. Asking how your feeding decisions will be supported is a great conversation to have before baby arrives to be sure you are comfortable. If breastfeeding is a priority for example, you may want someone who is comfortable troubleshooting potential challenges. If formula is an option, you may want someone who’s also comfortable giving formula.
4. What kind of Experience, relevant Certifcates or Continuing Education do you have?
We try to stay away from saying what parents and caregivers should or shouldn’t do, but the one exception to this is in safety. For babies 0-1 year old, caregivers should demonstrate thorough knowledge of basic safety, carseat safety and reducing the risk of SIDS. If you'd like to be sure your caregiver understands how to reduce the risk of SIDS, the AAP offers a comprehensive, free online course, which issues a certificate after completion.
First Aid and CPR Certification should also be a given for every caregiver. Other continuing education and safety courses offered by regulated agencies show a caregiver's commitment to their profession and an understanding that recommendations for baby care can change over time. Experience is another excellent indicator of commitment though, and there are many wonderful night nannies and newborn care providers without certificates and formal training. Just because someone has taken a newborn care training class doesn’t mean they have ever held a real baby.
On the same note, it may be important to you to know that your doula or night nurse is accountable to a state or other governing body.
It's important to note that only professionals who have completed Registered Nursing, Certified Nurse Midwife or other higher level Licensed Nursing degrees should be called "nurse" or "baby nurse." Without these licensures, is actually illegal to use the term "baby nurse" in many states.
5. What is your philosophy on care and how will you soothe my baby?
Caregivers who understanding how to support philosophies and goals such as attachment parenting, sleep training, a baby-led approach and other early care intentions create a partnership between families and caregivers, not just a "babysitter" relationship.
On this note, you may wish to ask your night nurse or doula how s/he typically soothes baby. Someone who can explain many safe ways to comfort babies is not only demonstrating experience, but also that they understand that each little child has different needs.
As you search for the perfect caregiver, we hope these questions will help.
This article was written by the staff at Let Mommy Sleep, the Industry Leaders in Newborn Care.
Let Mommy Sleep's staff of Registered Nurses & Newborn Care Providers